Actor Alec Baldwin was so moved by the story of an 18-year-old Army soldier who is scheduled to serve in Iraq, he’s going to help pay for her college education after she leaves the military.
The story of Pvt. Resha Kane of Needles, Calif., was on the front page of The New York Times on March 4 and was written as a narrative about the day Kane said goodbye to her friends and family on Feb. 27 in Mohave Valley, Ariz., six miles northeast of Needles. Accompanying the article was a large photo of a teary-eyed Kane looking into her father’s eyes as he tenderly held her shoulders.
Soon after, Baldwin ? not Baldwin’s people ? phoned several dollar stores in Mohave Valley looking for Kane’s mother, Patricia Kane. He finally tracked her down at Family Dollar.
“I didn’t know what to say,” Kane said. “And then I asked him if he could send me his autograph. I’ve never met a star, let alone talked to one on the phone.”
Baldwin, who appeared in “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “The Departed” and most recently won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award for his performance in the weekly NBC comedy “30 Rock,” was vacationing in London and could not be reached for comment.
Baldwin spokesman Matthew Hiltzik said when Baldwin read the newspaper article, it made him think of his own daughter, 11-year-old Ireland.
Hiltzik said the actor will meet the Kane family in Mohave Valley and give them a check, which will be in addition to the $37,000 the Army will give Kane for college. Hiltzik said the date for Baldwin’s visit should be decided next week.
Although Baldwin, 48, has been a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, Hiltzik said supporting the troops who are fighting there is important to the actor.
“He himself tried to find the family, and he was very happy he was able to connect with them,” Hiltzik said. “It’s a great example that people of different backgrounds can agree on the importance of supporting our troops.”
Patricia Kane said when she heard Baldwin’s voice on the other line, she didn’t know what to think.
“I said, ‘No way. You’re lying.’ I was just blown away,” she said. “I am totally shocked and awed this has happened.”
Resha Kane said she was just as dumbfounded when her mother told her the news.
“It’s very generous,” she said from Fort Hood in Texas, where she is undergoing further training before her unit is deployed to Iraq in September. “Actors have all this money, and it’s a good thing to see them do something other than for themselves and show some character and use their money wisely.”
Kane, a chemical operations specialist in the Army, said she wants to be a biochemist but is not sure what university she wants to attend once she leaves the military in three years.
Although her mother is terrified for her daughter, Resha Kane said she’s not afraid to go to war.
“To tell you the truth, I’m not really worried about it,” she said. “It’s our duty to go over there, do our job and come back.”